Historic Town Center - Existing Conditions Before Development
Historic Town Center -- After Conventional Development
By making it hard for small local businesses to reuse existing
structures, current regulations favor corporate developers, who
are more likely to use off-the-shelf designs.
||Self-storage units under construction on the
other end of Hope Valley illustrate how the development market
can evolve in unpredictable ways.
|| This commercial center in Richmond illustrates
the dominant form of roadside development over the last 40 years:
great for cars, but ugly and dysfunctional for everyone else
Historic Town Center -- After Creative Development
Historic Town Center - Design Recommendations
||This striking Victorian was recently the subject
of a plan to replace it with a stock corporate doughnut shop
Admittedly more expensive, saving this building and adding on
to it to provide the necessary space for the proposed use will
add to the unique character of the village , promoting good neighborhood
relations and a memorable experience by visitors. By planning
for the good of the entire village, rather than just one use,
good corporate citizens can plant the seeds of long-term success.
This approach has succeeded for several fast-food establishments
in the tourist mecca of Freeport, Maine. McDonald's (right) renovated
an existing dwelling , while Arby's (far-right) built a new building
in a compatible style. Both reflect their historic village context
and add to the economic success of the whole town.
Historic Town Center -- Implementation Techniques and Examples
Implementation of the creative development alternative begins
with a masterplan for Hope Valley that would guide public
and private investment in a coordinated approach to development
of each parcel. The masterplan would probably be created with
the assistants of consultants, with extensive input from all
landowners and other stakeholders. It would establish permitted
and prohibited uses, as well as dimensional and density standards,
and general location of buildings, additions, driveways and parking
areas. Once an acceptable masterplan was created, it would be
implemented by means of a Planned Village Development District
within the Hopkinton Zoning Ordinance, which would list uses,
dimensional and density standards; parking requirements, open
space set-asides, and design standards for architecture, landscaping,
signage, and illumination. In addition, the masterplan approach
could foster a series of capital improvement projects:
streetscape improvements, especially sidewalks, lighting, and
shade tree planting; stormwater management, including creation
of treatment ponds and constructed wetlands to treat stormwater
runoff before it reaches existing waterbodies; park and playground
improvements; shared parking lots, shuttle bus service, and other
means to foster pedestrian uses and economic growth.
||While many people would happily see this kind
of storefront replaced with a mini-mall, care should be taken
to not throw the baby out with the bathwater. Underneath this
workaday facade there is a solid commercial building that relates
well to the street. As time goes on, the marketplace will promote
improvements to parking and signage.
||This structure was once a bank, and now serves
as an antique store; it could become a bank again , or some other
use, if there are incentives to encourage adaptive reuse of existing
structures, rather than replacing structures themselves every
time a new use comes along.
||The classic design of these building entrances,
and the attention to detail and craftsmanship of their construction
could not easily be duplicated today. These make a major contribution
to the character of the village in their own right, and together
with a hundred other historic building details up and down the
street, provide a ready-made architectural palette that should
be adopted for new construction.
||Hope Valley's rich history as a mill village
and commercial center has endowed the area with irreplaceable
architectural and engineering artifacts, like this dam, that
could not be replicated today. These cultural resources do and
will continue to attract people who want to live, work and shop
in a real place, and are the keys to how the village can compete
with new development on large parcels out by the interstate.
||Existing outbuildings can often be adapted
to new uses, especially for artisans and small businesses that
don't require much parking. Incentives for reuse of such buildings
can bring activity back to the town center and serve as inexpensive
"incubator" space for new businesses.